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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - August 24, 2008

From: Costa Mesa, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Tree with tap root for small area
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I'm looking for a tree with a tap root to plant for shade on the side of my patio. i have about a 4 foot area to plant in and it's 8 feet to my neighbors house. ..maybe something that gets to be about 20 feet tall and obviously not spreading roots due to proximity of house and patio. The ones I have researched with tap roots are white oak, hickory, walnut butternut, hornbeam and pecan. Will any of these grow in my Zone??? What, in your opinion, would be the best of these or do I have other choices w/a tap root. Thanks for your help!

ANSWER:

Hickorys, butternuts, hornbeams and pecans would not be suitable for your area since they are not native there. However, here are several small trees that do have tap roots and could work for your small space. Note that both of the oaks have a taller maximum height than you wanted, but they are slow growing.

Celtis laevigata var. reticulata (netleaf hackberry)

Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood)

Juglans californica (Southern California walnut) and photos

Prosopis pubescens (screwbean mesquite)

Prosopis velutina (velvet mesquite)

Umbellularia californica (California laurel)

Quercus agrifolia (California live oak)

Quercus garryana (Oregon white oak) and photos


Celtis laevigata var. reticulata

Cornus nuttallii

Prosopis pubescens

Prosopis velutina

Umbellularia californica

Quercus agrifolia

 

 

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